TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — With potentially $1.1 billion at stake, people are either buying tickets, thinking about buying tickets, or asking themselves how many tickets they should buy. With the full jackpot expected to be over $1 billion, lottery players can choose to either take a cash lump sum of $648.2 million or split the winnings up over 29 years after their first big payment.
Doing the annual option is described by Mega Millions as a way to “protect winners’ lifestyle and purchasing power in periods of inflation.”
Taking the one-time lump sum for cash is an option too, but the $648.2 million would still face taxes, to varying degrees based on where the winner lives. While not all states have income tax, Uncle Sam will still take his due. For any income over $500,000, the Internal Revenue Service scoops up 37%.
That means taking the cash option would net the winner a bit over $408 million after taxes.
Going with the annual installments instead, Mega Millions says “annuity is paid out as one immediate payment followed by 29 annual payments. Each payment is 5% bigger than the previous one.” The company gives an example of winning $100 million. For that sized jackpot, the first payment “would be about $1.5 million” while future earnings from the next 29 years would grow to “about $6.2 million” before taxes.
According to the lottery company, bigger sums mean bigger payments. With a base rate of 0.015% of the win per year to start, the current $1.1 billion’s first annual payment would get you about $16.5 million before taxes, and then start to go up 5% every year, after.
A Reader’s Digest breakdown of the most common Mega Millions numbers from May said the top picks were:
According to the Reader’s Digest breakdown, “22 was drawn 26 times and 11 was drawn 24 times. Several other of the most common Mega Millions numbers were drawn 18 times; these numbers are 13, 14, 17, 18, 24, and 25.”
Those numbers are statistically most common sine Oct. 31, 2017, when the current version of Mega Millions was set up. It’s the sixth version of Mega Millions, according to lottery stat website USA Mega. A separate Reader’s Digest analysis sought out which states were more likely to have lottery winners, geographically.
While the state-by-state analysis focused on Powerball winners, it did show that since Florida first started running lotteries in 2009, the state has had 13 winners. It ranked No. 8 for most wins of the top 20 states in the U.S. that hold lotteries.